Weightlifting is a Workout for Seniors Too

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Updated 8/24/15 1:44pm | Alert1 highly recommends seniors include weightlifting should in their aging in place plan. Increased fitness and flexibility is the best system for fall prevention.

When you hear the word ‘weightlifting,’ your mind immediately goes to the handy stereotypes. You conjure up images of huge, muscle-bound men strutting around on a stage. Perhaps senior citizens are among the last people you would expect to see grinding out bench press sets at the gym. But maybe they should be. Regular exercise and weight lifting are proving themselves as a cornerstone forsenior safety.

Research shows that weightlifting isn't just for the aspiring Schwarzenegger. Weightlifting is especially beneficial for senior citizens. According to the CDC, weight training provides protection against chronic conditions. These include heart disease, diabetes, many forms of cancer, and dementia. It also helps improve flexibility and balance, decreasing the likelihood and severity of falls.

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Beginners can join a senior-friendly gym with machines that allow smaller loads of weight than a standard gym. The trainers at these gyms will be knowledgeable about health concerns specific to seniors. They can suggest exercises and techniques to help maximize your workout

Finding the Right Senior Trainer

When shopping for the right trainer, you want someone with whom you are comfortable. You want a trainer who will push you based on your personal goals. You also want a trainer familiar with general senior safety and your body’s limits. When interviewing a trainer to help with your fall prevention plan, consider the following:

  1. Communication and Goals
    • Talk to your possible trainer about what your goals are. A trainer is there to help you reach those goals. A trainer with experience with senior safety should be able to help you set achievable and tangible goals.
    • Ask the right questions. What are their certifications and experience? What is their training regimen like? What motivational techniques will they use to help you reach your goal?
    • Use these conversations to determine the personality of your trainer and see if they are a good fit.
  2. Personal Assessment
    • A trainer should assess your body’s limits and needs and create a training regimen specific to you.
    • They should be knowledgeable about senior fitness.  They will educate you as you progress through your workouts.

Senior Exercises at Home

The do it yourselfer may want a solution that fits theiraging in place lifestyle. The following exercises are the best at helping seniors get fit and stay on top of fall prevention.

Bicep Curl

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The bicep curl is a great way to build arm strength. Either sitting or standing, place a small dumbbell in each hand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms at your sides, palms facing your thighs. Then, lift the weight so that your forearms rotate and your palms face toward your shoulders. Keep your upper arm and elbows close to your side. Pause, and then lower the weights back to the starting position. Be sure to always keep your wrists straight

The Chair Rise

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One of the most straightforward activities you can do is to get in and out of a chair. It may not seem like much, but the ability to get in and out of a chair can be quite difficult for seniors who don't get enough exercise. Repeat the motion for the number of repetitions you are shooting for. A good rule of thumb for beginners is to start with 2-4 reps and work up to 10-12 as your fitness level increases.

Overhead Press

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The overhead press targets several muscles in the arms, back, and shoulders. Once again, sit or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Raise your hands with your palms facing forward until the dumbbells are level with your shoulders. With control, push the dumbbells up over your head until your arms are extended all the way. Pause and bring the dumbbells back to shoulder level


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To do a squat, stand in front of an armless chair with your feet a slight shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms parallel to the ground, and lean forward a bit at the hips. With control, lower yourself into a near-sitting position. Don’t let your knees come forward past your toes. Pause and hold this position for two seconds before rising back to your standing position. Make sure you use a steady, controlled motion.

And Seniors Lived Steadily Ever After

Senior man weightlifting.

Always eat a healthy meal after a workout. Fall prevention begins with proper nutrition. Whether you're working out or just hanging out, be sure to stay hydrated. As you build strength and endurance, you may want to take on more challenging exercises and routines. Consider consulting with a personal trainer for nutritional information. A good trainer should help you to develop a well-rounded senior safety exercise program.

Don't get discouraged if you don't progress as fast as you would like. Achieving your fall prevention goals takes persistence. The first step is to get into a routine of exercise and good habits, not become the next Jack LaLanne. As long as you stick with it, you will notice increases in strength and energy. If you’re looking to further protect yourself from the unthinkable, try our fall detection medical alert risk-free!